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Navigating Complexity with AI-Enhanced Human-Centered Design

The Challenge: Navigating Regulatory Changes with Advanced Tools and Methods

Our recent success story took us on a fascinating journey where the power of AI tools met the creativity of human-centered design. This wasn’t just about achieving success; it was about the lessons we learned and the insights we gained at every step of the way about how effective AI-enhanced can be in Human-Centered Design.

We had a task to design a workshop for a mining client. Our goal was to gather feedback, direction, and agreement. We faced a tough challenge – understanding possible changes in safety and health legislation for mining. We also needed to help inform the plan for these changes and figure out important standards for making the changes work. And our involvement wasn’t straightforward either. The catch was that we joined the process later – so we weren’t a part of the in-depth context and research that we usually get involved in. 

But in human-centered design, things don’t always go perfectly – that’s the thing with people and human-centered design, which puts people at the centre. We couldn’t follow the ideal path of starting with our own research. Instead, we were called to a workshop where we had to find solutions in a complex situation with various conflicting agendas and interests.

What We Did: A Time-Sensitive Approach to Complex Problem-Solving

We faced a big challenge – dealing with a complex problem in a short time. Often, we might follow a structured process, like a Google sprint method, where the workshop involves stakeholders gathering research, identifying problems, describing opportunities, coming up with ideas, and making them better over five days. But this time, we only had a four-hour workshop window! 

We got the idea from a study by Jacob Nielsen about how AI can quickly come up with ideas. With this insight and our experience in AI at the Strategy Group, we changed our plan to use AI’s speed and agility. We used what we know about rapidly generating AI ideas to design a workshop that saved time and was still of the highest quality. 

Outcomes: Achieving Quality and Speed in Stakeholder Engagement

The workshop started by outlining goals and challenges. Icebreakers set a comfortable tone.

Participants formed groups, each assigned personas representing key roles in the industry. Through rapid storyboarding, they visually outlined tasks, identified critical pain points, and prioritized them.  

The pre-prepared AI prompt as the input and the AI output as printed material that workshop participants used. 

AI entered, using pre-set context and personas to suggest over 60 potential solutions. These AI-generated ideas were shared with participants, fostering inspiration and refining. 

The next phase focused on enabling factors to bring the ideal story to life. These factors were listed, prioritised, and synthesised using AI’s power. Categories were matched to six service design domains. 

David from the Strategy Group in facilitation mode. 
David from the Strategy Group in facilitation mode.

Feedback on these prioritised ideas was encouraged and valuable for validation and refinement. The engagement was high, and participants witnessed an iterative process that typically takes days unfold, now taking place before them. 

Learnings: The Fusion of Technology and Creativity in Overcoming Obstacles

As the workshop concluded, echoes of “fantastic AI ideas” filled the room. This journey was more than success; it showcased the partnership of human creativity and AI’s capabilities, breaking limits and offering solutions. It was a transformative experience, highlighting AI’s potential in addressing intricate challenges. 

Workshop participants who found the addition of AI valuable – with their hands raised.  N.B. All faces anonymised with AI to protect confidentiality. 

Throughout this journey, we absorbed lessons – quick thinking, adaptability, and unexpected challenges play vital roles. Despite hurdles, the fusion of creativity and technology worked harmoniously, propelling us ahead and uncovering innovative ways of problem-solving. We left the workshop knowing it would redefine workshop design and how we approach complexity and innovation in general. 

Workshop participants
Workshop participants who found the addition of AI valuable – with their hands raised. N.B. All faces anonymised with AI to protect confidentiality.

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